Why are members trained in a large number of subjects and disciplines? Why not just focus on a particular field from the beginning?
General education, in many countries, segregates every subject teaching it in isolation of its peers. As a community of reason we should realize that no subject is used in complete isolation from the others, especially in the sciences, many different disciplines combine to form very diverse subjects from nano-technology to bio-chem. But equally art, philosophy and creative visual thinking have been behind some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs (DNA, General Relativity etc) in a holistic, homogeneous approach to education a general spread of foundation skills can greatly improve our abilities in unexpected ways.
Secondly, the general studying of a wide range of subjects allows us to create a basic level of equal understanding. This could point to a level whereupon the member becomes a full fledged member of the community. The idea is that the level should not be a destructive barrier for people who have very specialised expertise but a level where by the members have enough understanding that they can be helpful in any disciple in some way, even if it is just data entry or testing data, at the very least community members should understand the arguments and essentials of a dialogue in a number of different fields.
While equality is the goal there might necessarily be a hierarchy of upper and lower levels of understanding. The lower level being equivalent to a GCSE or O-Level and the upper being the same as an A-level. To become a specialist in any subject you must have a fundamental understanding of the whole (chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics) in addition to this the disciplines of electronics and computing should be taken as they are essential for building practical applications or appliances. Nevertheless, it would be unreasonable to assume that you need a high level of knowledge in all areas of all subjects there has to be some cut-off points. To become an expert in a field you need to direct your unwavering attention to it, thus an advocate of a subject will have to be content in letting other disciplines slide.
Finally, by keeping members educated or teaching subjects in a churn it keeps knowledge and humility alive as they realise their weaknesses in other disciplines and the strength of their peers, meanwhile by teaching other students their subjects it helps reaffirm and retain those fundamental skills of their trade.
So I’ve created the tables for my Unit Tracker plugin and created some dummy data for an initial example Tracker. As nice as this is I’m not entirely sure about how I’ve designed the tables (read that as saying “if you think this is a mistake comment“). My assumption is as follows for the pure basics, you will need at least 2 tables;
Table 1 – Trackers
A table to store all the different units being tracked, there can be a number of different units tracked, or maybe even a set of units tracked in tandem for example body-fat % , weight and stomach measures.
- Name and Description of the tracker
- Link to a post/page further describing the details about the tracker
- A display Reference (something like a permalink) that can be used to display the tracker
- for example [:tracker-weight:]
- Validation, due to the fact that any unit may be added a validation key will be added here (regex?)
- Unit Measurement, because people might be measuring lbs, Stone (British measure), Kg, % or Quarks the unit of measurement is left blank and assigned by a user (but there will automatically be a suggested one in the form)
Table 2 – Tracker Values
A table to store all the values recorded by the user. This is so in the future we can use this data to map graphs, allow cvs downloads e.t.c.
- Value, this I have decided to store as a string, now I may well regret this but it seemed the easiest way to store data of any type including time (hours/days/months/years) weight can be stored in Metric and converted as necessary. The method of extracting and processing the data is based on the validation in the Tracker table. You can’t change the type after the Tracker contains data.
- Created, the date that new a new data value was added to the tracker
- Tracker Id the ID (primary key) of the tracker the data belongs to.
Of course this isn’t all, there will be probably options stored in the WordPress options database table to decide on appearance, widget placement etc, additional tracker values that show targets, method of display, change over a period of x, and many more…
First of all I’ll settle with the above as an Alpha 0.0.1 release and when this works I’ll add accordingly.
So I have returned to PHP from a long absence trying to get my head around the Zend Framework via it’s manual. It’s somewhat error prone and doesn’t accurately describe what you always need to do but I got the quickstart project up and running. I think I’ll work through the available chapters till the end and experiment locally until I create a Zend application on this site to show what I can do.
I also have a few books arriving that should give me a step by step process of learning practical Zend programming. I am already impressed by it’s potential but I need to get much more familiar with both the framework and my knowledge of PHP before I feel comfortable with it all again.
On another note I want to start tracking my hours of work on various projects to see my progress so I’m looking at creating a simple WordPress plugin that can store and display hours spent on something. Or more to the point add all the hours I give it together with some nice script. I want to show how many hours of experience and learning I have towards 10,000 hours (the supposed mark of an expert). While I’m a long way off at the moment, It is a noble goal to aim towards.